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Re: WhiSSLing in the Dark

David R. Conrad wrote:
>>Netscape Encrypted Data Cracked
>>Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 18 (NB) -- ...
>>Many companies working on secure transaction systems hope
>>the much more secure 128-bit code version of the system
>>will be available for export eventually. This is said to
>>be almost unbreakable, requiring a trillion times more
>>processing power to crack than the 40-bit version.  ...
>Notice how the "over a trillion times more" has devolved into simply "a
>trillion times more" -- and we all know that the former statement was a
>gross underestimate, reminiscent of the claim of "over 3 billion
>combinations" on Ideal's packaging for Rubik's cube.
>Of course the real reason the media have standardized on trillian for
>this is that they know it is the biggest number the bulk of their
>audience is familiar with, and that if they said 3e26 or even "three
>times ten to the twenty-sixth power" they would snow most of their
>readers/viewers.  (To be fair, I think the WSJ did say 10^26, with a
>brief explanation of what that meant.  I congratulate them for not
>"talking down" to their readers.)

I talked the guy out of using an analogy with physical key length (the kind
you stick in a door) and he settled on "10^26" rather than a power of 2.
Also, I gave hime the relevant names, e-mail addresses, and URL's, but
didn't have any phone numbers.

BTW, in the "cryptography experts and hackers and mathematicians" as well
as the whole "hacker" slant, smells like an editor.

Dietrich J. Kappe | Red Planet    http://www.redweb.com/
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